Teaching interactivity: Introducing design students to sensors and microcontrollers

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This paper presents an educational case study and its pedagogical lessons in the context of design teaching. Smart products, adaptive designs, and intelligent spaces are in the forefront of current artistic discourse. They are critical components in sustainable designs where products monitor their own performance and respond to consumers' real-time needs and environmental factors. In order to prepare students in the design field to be able to present interaction-based ideas more effectively, the author developed a project-based course to produce interactive prototypes using sensors, actuators, and microcontrollers. The author introduces instructions using practical template materials that can demonstrate certain key notions such as feedback and kinematics at the earlier phase of learning while providing minimum yet sufficient fundamental skills and theoretical background on programming and electronics. This strategy allows students to acquire extensible knowledge that does not rely on higher-level software functions or specialized but inflexible plug-ins. Students can reinterpret given materials and modify them to produce custom tools that can realize their original project goals. By presenting methods used in the author's course and conceptual example projects by students, an efficient way to teach relatively complex technical materials without overpowering student creativity and motivation will be offered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-31
Number of pages7
JournalComputer Graphics Forum
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2014
Event35th Annual Conference on European Association for Computer Graphics, EUROGRAPHICS 2014 - Strasbourg, France
Duration: Apr 7 2014Apr 11 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


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